Individualized, purposeful, personal.

For our students, these three words sum up the GPS college counseling experience.
Selecting a college is a personal journey that involves the student, her college counselor, and her family. While her counselor can provide expert advice and insight into colleges that best meet her requirements and fit her profile, ultimately the decision lies with the student and her family.

By learning to evaluate her own strengths and craft her unique story, each student can discover colleges she might not have even considered at the beginning of the process. Online tools, such as SCOIR, help her keep an ongoing account of the application journey and college selection, one that is done in partnership with her counselor.

Because the college search is uniquely tailored to each girl, it is no wonder that GPS alumnae go on to graduate from the college where they started at a rate that’s nearly double the national average.

Congratulations to the Class of 2020!

College Counseling by Grade & Special Events

The road to college is a series of questions and answers, both for the counselors and for each girl as she seeks the college that will be the best fit. To help each girl develop her plan for finding her choice college, the College Counseling office has developed a multi-year process.

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  • + Freshman & Sophomore Years

    During her freshman year, each girl employs YouScience, a tool that helps her to identify her innate aptitudes and introduces her to careers and fields of study that might be a good fit based on her natural talents. While students adjust to life in the Upper School, through Freshman Seminar they learn popular myths and misconceptions that can impact their college search. Meanwhile, parents are provided with information through our College Primer program regarding GPAs, standardized tests, the college planning timeline, and available resources.

    Then students are introduced to SCOIR, and parents are invited to attend College Conversations, morning Q&As hosted by college counselors. Before junior year, girls should gain a basic understanding of what matters on the college application but also start imagining all the options available—close to home or across the globe. Students are encouraged to develop their strengths and identify areas for growth.

    “We want them to start thinking about, ‘If I want to be an engineer (or designer or entrepreneur), what am I going to have to do to make my dreams come true?’ But as freshmen and sophomores, our mission is to inform, not overwhelm, students,” says Ms. McCarter, Director of College Counseling. “The challenges will come soon enough!”
  • + Junior Year

    The college process picks up pace in students’ junior year, beginning with a Countdown to College brunch in September. At the brunch, each girl reviews a copy of her transcript, and counselors discuss topics such as teacher recommendations, college visits, and what questions should be asked on a college tour. 

    Midyear small group lunches preview the upcoming college classes, which start in the second semester, with getting-to-know-you questionnaires that reveal the nonacademic side of each girl. Classes generate lots of discussions among girls about what to look for in a college, how to write a résumé and use social media platforms in the admission process, and how to craft their personal stories. A college scavenger hunt introduces girls to schools they may not have considered. 

    The Road to College evening program features a panel of college admissions deans and is open to all students and their parents. During the school day, the deans lead the students in small groups through sample fictional applications, or case studies.

    Girls and their parents join with the counselors in individual conferences during the second semester and through the summer. Here they start to develop their college lists, are encouraged to go on college tours, and have discussions about financial aid and scholarships.
  • + Senior Year

    In summer workshops, rising seniors move from brainstorming essay ideas to a first draft of their college essays. Once school begins, seven-week College Seminar sessions allow girls to dive deeper into the application process. Working in small groups, girls receive individualized attention that allows her to personalize her application. Counselors focus on determining why the girls want to attend college and then help them create an application that reflects their strengths and aspirations. 

    The first step: Get organized! They’ll develop a College Application Planner to keep track of deadlines and meetings and then work on resumes, short answer questions, and interviewing skills. Along the way, girls will become well-versed in scholarships and financial aid with the help of their college counselor. 

    Throughout the year, girls are welcome in the college offices to conference with their counselors, and a special Milk and Cookies Day opens the offices for girls to work on essays and continue submitting applications.

    Each girl’s college selection is announced on social media through the GPS College Twitter and Instagram accounts (@GPSCollege) and, on the May 1 common reply date, the office hosts a decision day celebration.
  • + Special Events*

    • A program with the athletic office provides guidance in understanding NCAA rules and regulations. 
    • A Financial Aid Night features a speaker from a college financial aid office. Emory University and Rhodes College have participated in the past.
    • Six morning Cup of College sessions are scheduled for parents to get their own questions answered and often receive advice from parents of alumnae.
    • Newsletters for all grades (monthly for 11-12, quarterly for 9-10) cover college admission trends, upcoming dates, and deadlines.
    • A Winterim College Tour is offered (California, D.C./Baltimore, Philly/NY, and Texas universities have been toured in the past.)
    • A faculty member who was a panhellenic advisor presents a workshop to seniors on Greek life.
    • GPS cosponsors the annual citywide Coast-to-Coast College Fair and coordinates four College Nights with McCallie in the fall for sophomores, juniors, and seniors.
    *For the 2020-21 school year, most events will be virtual with some that require travel TBD.

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  • + College Counseling Programming

    In addition to specific grade-level workshops and meetings, our college office hosts a number of events throughout the year, including a financial aid night, grade-level student and parent meetings, an athletic program led by our director of athletics, and a college deans panel open to all grade levels. Counselors also host quarterly College Conversations on campus to discuss admissions trends and answer any questions parents might have.

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  • + College Visits

    Through intimate, on-campus evening college fairs and campus day visits, GPS students have the opportunity to visit with 100+ college representatives each year. GPS also co-hosts the annual Coast-to-Coast College Fair, which draws colleges from across the country and beyond. Additionally, the college counselors personally visit colleges throughout the year and host representatives on campus to meet with girls who express interest. Students are advised before interacting with college representatives on good questions to ask and to approach schools they may not have considered before.

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  • + Interdepartmental Relationships

    The college counseling office works closely with the athletic department, class deans, advisors, and academic departments to thoughtfully advise and support students.

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  • + Beyond GPS

    Active in their professional organizations and armed with a wealth of experience, the college counselors have held positions as president of the Southern Association for College Admissions Counseling and co-director of SACAC’s Summer Seminar, a program for new professionals. In addition, they have served on national committees and college advisory boards as well as presented at conferences across the nation.

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  • + The College Process

    Based on each student and family’s criteria, GPS college counselors encourage girls to consider appropriate and challenging college options over a broad geographic area. Although each student is responsible for taking control of her journey, she is assisted through all aspects of the application, scholarship, and financial aid process with the ultimate goal of finding a college that best meets her academic, social, and financial needs.

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  • + Senior Year

    Summer essay workshops, a two-day application boot camp at the beginning of the year, application strategies, mock interviews, letters of recommendation, and a full proofreading of applications before submission are just some of the ways the office supports seniors in the application process.

Meet the College Counseling Staff

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Where Oh Wheres

GPS Alumnae Attend

Follow GPS College Counseling on Social Media